Smart homes offer fresh opportunity for pay-TV
Michelle Clancy
| 04 June 2014
Home security and home automation represent opportunity for pay-TV operators looking to grow in saturating market conditions.

In fact, according to a report from ABI Research, nearly 30% of North American households are expected to have a managed smart home automation system installed by 2019.

However, the firm noted that selecting technologies and overcoming standards fragmentation continues to represent a sizable investment for operators. Tighter integration between set-top boxes and broadband gateways will not occur until some of these issues are addressed, and the services enter the mainstream.

There are also regional variations; North American operators are focused on home security and automation that provide peace of mind, while European operators have focused more intently on energy management. In Asia-Pacific, the driving force has been more blended but, but centres on the smart home and making the user experience more efficient.

"Interoperability is a key challenge facing not only the service providers but any company working in the IoT [Internet of Things] space," said ABI practice director Sam Rosen. "iControl has done a remarkable job securing the most pay-TV service provider contracts in the North American market, but market-wide interoperability will come from open software frameworks and protocols. This will help devices and services communicate with each other instead of individual silos truly making it the Internet of Everything."

A significant number of initiatives and alliances have formed to solve this problem but the market is still quite diverse. iControl's OpenHome Partner Programme helps third-party device manufacturers ensure interoperability with service provider IoT implementation, while the AllSeen Alliance (AllJoyn) has secured some early support from LG (connected TVs). Other platforms such as Imagination's FlowCloud, openHAB, Technicolor's Qeo (also working with AllSeen), Nagra's JoinIn and Prodea Systems' ROS are all taking various approaches to the same goal making services, applications, and devices work together.

Senior analyst Michael Inouye added: "Roles for the wireless networking technologies are still evolving along with the guidelines around interoperability. Looking further into the future, the next evolutionary stage will come from the integration of services, applications, and technologies this includes virtual assistants, indoor positioning and connected CE. The market still has a Wild West feel, but it's moving quickly and companies need to work together to ensure the market lives up to its potential."